What You Really Need to Know About ADHD!

March 3rd, 2014

In today’s healthcare climate, where prescription drug use has multiplied, it’s becoming increasingly important to question medical professionals on the diagnoses they dish out. It’s equally important to question one’s own belief in pharmacology as the solution to the health problems we face today. We must question the labels that we place on ourselves and on our kids.

One in nine children now labeled with ADHD

very misleading paradigm has been imposed on the minds of the public and has been facilitated through the Western medical institution in the past three decades. This misleading mindset is leading many children to be labeled with ADHD, which stands for “attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.” This fabricated “disorder” has morphed into a pill-popping craze in the 21st century, and it is addicting more and more children to dangerous stimulant drugs. ADHD, first coined by the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual in 1980 as “attention-deficit disorder,” has since then skyrocketed. In 2003, 7.8 percent of children were labeled with ADHD, and by 2011, that number spiked to 11 percent.

This false paradigm is now being planted in the minds of one in every nine children. Two-thirds of the diagnoses are in boys. This is an alarming trend of misdiagnosis, especially when drugs like Adderall and Ritalin are prescribed. The more a child takes these drugs, the more they will develop a tolerance to them, which can lead to a dangerous addiction spiral.

New book written by neurologist Richard Saul sheds light on the situation

The new book, titled ADHD Does Not Exist: The Truth About Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder, is the culmination of Dr. Saul’s half-century of experience treating patients.

In his own words, “Not a single individual — not even the person who finds it close to impossible to pay attention or sit still — is afflicted by the disorder called ADHD as we define it today.”

Saul witnessed how countless patients would come to him with the ADHD label already scribed into their minds. Saul recognized underlying problems that can be solved without the ADHD label and subsequent drugging of the patient.

Patients showing short attention spans would come right up to Saul claiming that they had ADHD. He says that patients would come straight to his doctor office already mentally self-diagnosed with ADHD, asking for drugs like Adderall and Ritalin.

“ADHD makes a great excuse,” Saul says. “The diagnosis can be an easy-to-reach-for crutch. Moreover, there’s an attractive element to an ADHD diagnosis, especially in adults — it can be exciting to think of oneself as involved in many things at once, rather than stuck in a boring rut.”

Saul relays that his medical colleagues were quick to prescribe the stimulant drugs Ritalin and Adderall, because patients met criteria from a “two-minute checklist.”

Saul’s method involves treating patients’ individual situations and symptoms without drugs

But Dr. Saul believes that the fictitious ADHD is really a collection of symptoms, not a disease. He believes that ADHD should be taken out of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. He believes that the symptoms should be approached holistically. Instead of looking at hyperactivity, fidgeting and lack of focus as one lump “disease,” Saul outlines causes, methods and alternative solutions for people who struggle to focus and pay attention.

In one example, Saul told the New York Post about a girl who was being treated for ADHD because she was disruptive in class because she couldn’t see the blackboard. In the end, all she needed was glasses, not drugs.

Learn more from Saul’s new book, ADHD Does Not Exist: The Truth About Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorderright here
.

5 Tips for Having a Successful Interfaith Marriage

October 21st, 2013

5 Tips for Having a Successful Interfaith Marriage

 

With the divorce rate in America affecting around half of all marriages, it’s clear that building a successful, long-lasting union isn’t easy. When partners come from two different faiths, the challenges can be even more daunting. With love, respect and a healthy dose of compromise, however, interfaith marriages can be both successful and happy. If you’re in an interfaith marriage or relationship, here are some things to keep in mind:

Let Love Open the Lines of Communication

Interfaith unions are most successful when both spouses remain committed to facing the unique challenges that dual-faith marriages present with honesty and integrity. Although open communication about differences in faith should begin before marriage, it’s never too late to start the conversation. In A Non-Judgmental Guide to Interfaith Marriage, Rabbi Steven Carr Reuben encourages communication by reminding couples that “You won’t stop loving each other if you talk about your religion.” It’s important to remember that love is one human quality that practitioners of every religion value. If you’re nervous about talking to your spouse about faith, that’s OK. Tell him you’re nervous and that you’d like to talk about some serious matters, but you don’t know how or where to start. The more open you are, the better it will go for the both of you.

Learn About Each Other’s Faith

In the book Interfaith Families: Personal Stories of Jewish-Christian Intermarriage, Jane Kaplan stresses the importance about learning about your spouse’s religion as a way to develop mutual respect. Asking each other questions is not only a learning experience, but a way to determine the depth of commitment that each partner has to the faith. Bringing the extended family into the conversation may also be helpful, as long as everyone promises beforehand to treat each other with courtesy and respect. As always, open and honest questions are the best way to go.

Offer Education and Choices for Children

Any discussion about having and raising children should include a conversation about religion, particularly as it pertains to education. Couples need to decide how important it is to them that their children be educated in two religions, one faith, or none. Because the decision can influence the schools and childcare facilities that parents choose for their children, couples need to make clear choices early on in the marriage. Whatever choices you make, it’s critical for the well-being of your children that you and your spouse present a united front. A show of mutual respect is a valuable life lesson that will serve your children well as they grow into adulthood. Answer your child’s questions, encourage him and help him learn how to make his own decisions.

Keep Holiday Traditions

When discussing how involved each spouse wants to be in his or her chosen faith, holiday observances should be included in the conversation. For some people, religious observances are so linked to holidays that celebrating without them is unimaginable. Even people who say that religion isn’t important to them, for example, may still find it difficult to enjoy the holiday season without a Christmas tree or a menorah. Couples may discover that it’s enjoyable to include traditions from both sides of the family. It’s likely that the in-laws will appreciate the inclusion of family traditions as well.

Celebrate Your Differences

Author Naomi Schaefer Riley conducted a national survey of couples in interfaith marriages for her boo k‘Til Faith Do Us PartWhile findings from the survey did indicate a higher rate of conflict among interfaith couples — which isn’t surprising given the natural struggles such couples face — Riley also found that “marrying someone of another faith tended to improve one’s view of that faith.” A partner in an interfaith marriage herself, Riley encourages couples to take the challenges of a dual-faith partnership seriously, but also to celebrate the fact that they live in a country where they can marry anyone they wish despite their differences in faith.

When it comes to learning to navigate the pitfalls of an interfaith marriage, there are no hard and fast rules. Couples may feel less pressure and enjoy their marriage more by giving themselves permission to try a different approach if the situation warrants it. There’s nothing wrong with changing course midstream if a better solution shows up on the horizon. When it comes to a happy marriage, compromise is much more about finding mutual success than it is about one side admitting defeat.

Marriage and Happiness: 18 Long-Term Studies

September 1st, 2013

 

Marriage and Happiness: 18 Long-Term Studies

Getting married does not make you happier
Published on March 15, 2013 by Bella DePaulo, Ph.D. in Living Single

There is another big problem, too, as I have been arguing since writing Singled Out and even before. The group of people who are currently married does not include all of the people who ever got married. Divorced and widowed people are separated out of the currently-married group. So if currently married people are happier than other people, you cannot say that if the unmarried would only get married, they would be happier, too. The divorced and widowed people did get married. If you want to understand the implications of getting married, their experiences have to be included.

The real kicker is that even when marriage is given the utterly unfair and methodologically indefensible advantage of a design in which only the currently married are compared to others, there is still very little difference in happiness, and sometimes the people who did get married and then divorced (or were widowed) are less happy than those who stayed single. The results from the nationally representative sample that I described in Singled Out, for example, were (on a 1 to 4 scale, with 4 indicated the greatest happiness): 3.3, currently married; 3.2, always-single; 2.9, divorced; 2.9, widowed.

Better Ways to Study the Implications of Marital Status for Happiness, Health, and Everything Else

If you really wanted to know, using the scientific gold standard, whether marrying makes people happier, you would have to randomly assign people to get married or stay single and see what happens. Of course, it is not possible to do that.

The next best thing is to study the same people over the course of their adult lives, and see how their happiness or satisfaction with life changes as they experience various life events. If you want to know the implications of getting married (or, say, getting divorced) for people’s happiness, then start asking them about their happiness or satisfaction before the event ever happened, and continue asking them (maybe once a year, though more often might be even better) how they feel long after the event occurred.

In the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, a group of four authors published a statistical analysis and summary (a meta-analysis) of 18 such studies of people who got married and 8 of people who got divorced.

For one of the events, they found that people (on the average) felt a little worse just after the event occurred, then, over time, they reported feeling better and better every time they were asked.

For the other event, people may have felt a bit better right after the event than they had before, though it depended on the particular question you asked. Then, over time, they either felt no differently, or they reported feeling even worse. (Again, the particular question matters, though all of the questions have something to do with happiness or life satisfaction or satisfaction with a partner.)

So which of the results describes the implications of getting married and which describes the implications of getting divorced?

It was the people who got divorced who felt worse at first, but then felt better and better over time. The people who used to be single and then got married (well, some of the people who used to be single and then got married – more on that in a moment) felt either a little bit better at first (or their feelings/appraisals did not change or they got a bit worse), and then, over time, their feelings/appraisals either stayed about the same or got worse of time. (If you can access the paper, the relevant graphs are Figures 3 and 4.)

The authors realize that you could look at those timelines of well-being and suggest that: (1) getting divorced makes you happier over time; and (2) getting married does not make you happier and may even make you less happy.

They don’t like those interpretations. Taking the marriage findings first, they suggest that people were already becoming happier than usual before they married, in anticipation of the wedding. So when married people start reporting lower satisfaction after the marriage than they did before, they are just going back to the level of satisfaction they felt before a wedding was in the picture.

I don’t object to that interpretation. It is entirely possible. As the authors note, you would need to study satisfaction for enough years before the wedding to be more certain that this explanation is a good one.

For divorce, the thinking is similar. Levels of happiness were probably already heading down for people headed to divorce, and so getting divorced only makes people happier relative to how increasingly miserable they were feeling, year after year, when they were married. Again, I buy that as plausible, and related research suggests as much.

The 18 Long-Tem Studies of the Implications of Marrying: Some Specifics

The 18 key studies of the implications of marrying for well-being were all prospective studies. That means that people were asked about their happiness or satisfaction starting before they got married and continuing for a while afterwards. On the average, people started reporting their satisfaction about 4 months before they married, and continued doing so repeatedly. The average number of times they reported their satisfaction was about 5. Some of the research has been ongoing for more than a decade.

In at least 11 of the 18 studies, the people in the marriage group included only those who got married and stayed married all through the study. This is important. The cumulative results of the 18 studies don’t really tell us about the implications of getting married; instead, they tell us about the implications mostly only for those who get married and stay married. For those who marry and then divorce or become widowed, the implications may be very different.

The authors of the 18 studies asked about well-being in at least one of three different ways:

  • Happiness. I’m calling this happiness, but the authors of the meta-analysis use the term “affective well-being.” The participants in the studies were sometimes asked about happiness and sometimes asked about unpleasant feelings such as a depressed mood (which is different from clinical depression).
  • Life satisfaction. Participants are asked how satisfied they are with their lives. The authors called this “cognitive well-being.”
  • Relationship satisfaction. Participants are asked how satisfied they are with their relationship with their partner.

The first question the authors of the meta-analysis answered was: How did the participants’ happiness or satisfaction change from just before they got married to just after? (Remember, “just before” was, on the average, 4 months before the wedding. Just after was the first time they were asked after the wedding.) The second question was: How did happiness or satisfaction change over time after the wedding?

Here’s what they found:

  • For happiness, there was no difference in happiness from just before the wedding until just after. Over time, on the average, happiness did not change. Participants did not get either happier or less happy as the years of their marriage marched on.
  • Satisfaction with life did increase from just before the wedding to just after. But then it decreased continually over time.
  • Compared to life satisfaction, relationship satisfaction decreased from just before the wedding to just after. As time went on, relationship satisfaction continued to decrease at about the same rate as overall life satisfaction.

Here’s what did not happen: Except for that initial short-lived honeymoon effect for life satisfaction, getting married did not result in getting happier or more satisfied. In fact, for life satisfaction and relationship satisfaction, the trajectories over time headed in the less satisfied direction.

What is really remarkable about the combined findings of the 18 studies is that the designs were biased in favor of making marriage look good. At least 11 of the studies included only those people who got married and stayed married.

There was one sentence in the results section of the meta-analysis about how the results were different for those studies which included people who had separated, rather than tossing them out of the marriage group: “These samples did not differ in the initial reaction; however, the rate of adaptation was significantly less negative in samples without any separations.”

Translation: Negative adaptation means that people were getting less satisfied over time. If you take out the people who got separated and just look at the people who got married and stayed married, then the decrease in happiness is not as striking. That’s another way of saying what I’ve been saying all along: If you just look at the people who got married and stayed married, you are skimming off the top. You cannot generalize from just those people to offer blanket advice such as, Get married and you will be get happier (as Dan Buettner, author of The Blue Zones, actually did in the February/March 2013 issue of the AARP Magazine). Even the skimmed people did not get happier and stay happier.

After 18 Failures to Show that Getting Married Increases Happiness, They Are Still Insisting that It Does

Too many social scientists simply are not going to give up on the claim that getting married makes you happier. Harvard Magazine recently reported that Dan Gilbert, Harvard professor and bestselling author of Stumbling on Happiness, delighted an audience by asking them “how many believed getting married led to happiness” and then proclaiming “you’re right!” to the people who raised their hands.

There were no references in the magazine, but maybe Gilbert was referring to the latest attempt to salvage the myth of marital bliss. It was a study of people’s life satisfaction over time, similar to the ones I described above. (It probably was one of the 18 studies, though the specific studies were not listed in the article.)

In the same type of analyses conducted for the 18 studies, participants’ reports of their life satisfaction were tracked starting before they married and continuing for years afterwards. Only those who got married and stayed married throughout the study were included in the analyses.

The results were the same as for the 18 studies. Participants reported an increase in life satisfaction around the year of the wedding (compared to before the wedding), but, as the authors noted, “this effect was short-lived.” Over time, the participants went back to feeling as satisfied or as unsatisfied as they were with their lives before they got married.

So how did the authors find a way to make getting married look like a boon to happiness? First, they looked at normative changes in life satisfaction over the course of the adult years. Setting aside considerations of marital status, the study showed (as have other studies) that life satisfaction decreases over time. Then they looked specifically at the people who stayed single, and found that their life satisfaction showed some decrease over time.

(Some specifics: At the time of the marriage, those who got married and stayed married reported life satisfaction that was a half of one point, on a 7-point scale, higher than the matched single people. In the years afterwards, those who married and stayed married averaged .28 of one point on a 7-point scale greater life satisfaction than those who stayed single. About the “matching”: For each person who got married and stayed married, the authors tried to find a single person who was as similar as possible in age, sex, education and income. They didn’t say when they assessed income. The matching was not totally successful. For example, the single people, on the average, were four years older than those who got married and stayed married.)

Here’s what the authors said about their results: “…although our previous analyses showed that people were no more happier after marriage than before marriage, these results suggest that married people are indeed happier than they would have been if they did not get married.”

That interpretation was repeated in the press. The study may also be the basis for claims by people such as Dan Gilbert that getting married makes you happier.

Do You See What Is Wrong with the Study and the Claims about the Results? If So, You Are Way Ahead of Most Journalists, Professors, and Bestselling Authors

I think there are at least two major problems with the claims made about what this study suggests. The authors of the study acknowledge only one of them. There are also a number of alternative interpretations that go unmentioned.

See if you can figure out the flaws in the study and in the claims made about the results. I’ll tell you what I think they are in a future post. [UPDATE. Here it is: Every time you hear that getting married will make you happier, read this.]

I’m guessing that many of you can identify problems and generate alternative interpretations, even though you may have no training in research methods. If you can, you are doing better than the authors of the study, the reviewers and editors who critiqued the study before it was published, the journalists who wrote about it, and highly successful people such as Harvard professor Dan Gilbert and “happiness expert” Dan Buettner.

After Divorce: 8 Tips for Reinventing Yourself

August 30th, 2013

After Divorce: 8 Tips for Reinventing Yourself

8 ideas to help you shape your post-divorce life.

It’s over. You’ve signed the divorce papers, and the relationship you entered with so much hope is officially dissolved.

Everyone’s divorce story is different. Maybe you had been married for decades, maybe just a year or so. Maybe you have children, maybe you don’t. Maybe the divorce was your idea and maybe it was your partner’s, or maybe you both agreed that separation was best. Maybe you’re relieved, maybe you’re heartbroken — or a bit of both.

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But however you got here, the question now is where do you go from here? And how do you figure out who you are and what you want as a newly single person? What is your new life going to look like, and how do you start moving in that direction?

Here are eight of the first steps:

1. Let yourself mourn.

Nobody gets married thinking, “I sure hope we can get divorced someday!” Even if, by the time you split, the divorce was something you wanted, a divorce still represents a loss.

“Whatever your marriage and divorce experience has been, there will be emotions that have to do with grief,” says psychotherapist Florence Falk, PhD, MSW, author of On My Own: The Art of Being a Woman Alone.

“You may feel remorse for what you did or didn’t do, or wonder what you did wrong. Don’t dwell on those feelings, but make room for them,” Falk says. “Loss is loss. There is an empty space where something once filled it up, even if that something may not have been desirable.”

2. Work through your feelings.

Don’t tote that heavy baggage from your previous relationship into your new life. Find a way to work through the lingering emotions from the demise of your marriage, advises psychologist Robert Alberti, PhD, co-author of Rebuilding: When Your Relationship Ends.

That may mean talking out your feelings with a therapist or focusing your energy in a healthy activity you enjoy. “It’s common to sweep these emotions under the table, but you have to work through them or they’ll pollute your life going forward,” Alberti says.

If you find yourself resisting the idea of therapy, you might want to keep in mind that therapy doesn’t mean you have a problem or that you’re in crisis. It can be a way to work toward a better life, with someone who has no agenda but YOU.

3. Learn to like yourself.

That may sound cheesy and New Age-y. But the fact is that many people feel a lot of self-rejection after a divorce.

“You might think that there must be something wrong with you if you couldn’t make this relationship work,” Alberti says. “You have to work on getting confidence and faith in yourself and ability to believe in your own worth.”

This is also something you could pursue in therapy, or through Tip No. 4:

4. Rediscover who you used to be.

Especially if you were married for a long time, you may have given up a lot of the things you enjoyed as a single person because they didn’t fit with your “couplehood.”

Maybe you loved to go out, but your spouse was a homebody. Maybe you always loved going to the theater but your husband hated it.

“What were your hobbies and activities before the marriage? What did you defer in favor of the relationship?” Alberti asks. “Exercising your interest in those again is important to rebuilding yourself.”

5. Discover a new side of yourself.

The life-changing period of divorce, though often difficult and unwelcome, holds a silver lining: to shake things up and try on a new lifestyle.

Maybe it’s as simple as a pixie haircut after a lifetime of wearing long, flowing locks. Maybe it’s trying a new sport, considering a different place of worship, or going back to college. Maybe you realize that you’d like to move to a new city or even spend a year living in Paris.

Of course, you can’t just flit away and throw caution to the wind. Chances are, you have some very real considerations — kids (if you’re a parent), a job, and a budget (which may have been hurt by the divorce).

But chances also are that although you might not be able to do whatever your fantasy is, there may be other changes that ARE within your reach. So don’t reject the idea of any change, just because you can’t make every change.

“As long as the changes you make are healthy and constructive, these are very appropriate,” says Alberti. “Think about who you want to be — the person you were before the marriage, or maybe a new person? What are some of the things you can do differently?”

Look for changes you can say yes to, instead of dwelling on what’s out of reach.

6. Dare to be alone.

Being alone doesn’t mean being isolated and never seeing anyone. It just means not being coupled up, or in a rush to do so.

Society is much more accepting of singles than even a decade ago, when solo restaurant diners often got the hairy eyeball.

“There are more than 30 million people living alone in this country today,” Falk says. “That’s a lot of people, and there are a lot of opportunities for social connection. There are possibilities to pick up new friends and enter different kinds of groups that have to do with your interests. The social dimension after a divorce can be very rich.”

7. Consider transitional relationships.

This isn’t about rebounding. It’s about considering dating (once you feel ready) outside your comfort zone — someone who’s not your type — without thinking that it has to head toward a permanent relationship.

“For example, maybe you’ve always dated people from a certain socioeconomic background,” Alberti says. “Or perhaps you always preferred sensitive musicians, or athletes, or the quiet, shy type. Turn your usual preferences inside out and stretch your dating horizons a bit.”

8. Embrace your new roles.

Especially if you were coupled up for a long time, your partner probably handled certain aspects of life while you managed others. Now it’s all up to you. And it’s not likely to go perfectly, but that’s OK.

“If your partner was always the one responsible for the money — earning it, managing it, investing it — suddenly you have a whole new realm of learning and responsibility,” Alberti says. “Dealing with those can give you confidence in your own ability.”

You don’t have to figure it all out yourself. Look for help.

“Even if you make mistakes, like paying too much for a car, you can learn from that experience,” Alberti says. “Mistakes give you life skills and teach you that you can handle being alone.”

The emotional costs of divorce

August 29th, 2013

The emotional costs of divorce

Cope with your losses so you can look forward to a happier future after going through a divorce.

By Carole-Anne Vatcher

The emotional costs of divorce

Divorce is an experience that affects nearly every aspect of your life. Even if you know your divorce is for the best, there are still losses you need to come to terms with so you don’t get stuck in a rut. Here are the top six:

1. Loss of the future you thought you’d have.
Most people have high hopes when they marry and this probably isn’t how you thought your life would go. But don’t let yourself get lost in what could have been. Focus on the here and now and see if you can begin to glimpse a new vision for your future.

2. Loss of mutual friends and in-laws.
You will either need to say goodbye to your in-laws or dramatically restructure your relationship with them. Don’t fight to try to keep the same relationship with them — things need to change, so let them.

Your mutual friends will likely gravitate towards one or the other of you. Don’t take it personally. Instead, focus on the good friends who are there to support you now.

3. Loss of money and possessions.
You may need to move to a smaller house or apartment, part with favourite furniture, or adapt to a lower income. Focus on getting yourself set up as best you can with what you have. Aim at getting a decent income and create the most nourishing, comfortable home that you can for yourself.

Most importantly, get help. Find a good lawyer, real estate agent, or accountant. Ask trusted friends for a helping hand.

4. Loss of social status.
The stigma that still surrounds divorce leaves many people feeling alone, isolated and like a failure. Remember that you are NOT a failure just because you’ve been through a divorce. Try to seek out others who’ve gone through this — talk to friends who are divorced or join a support group.

5. Loss of having married parents for your children.
If you have children, their sadness or anger about the divorce will likely be hard on you. They may act out or withdraw. Summon the energy to get proactive in your parenting. Read some parenting books on the subject and talk to other divorced parents about what worked for them. Then put a plan in place for how you’re going to parent your kids through this. They’ll improve and you’ll feel better about yourself as a parent too.

6. Loss of the person you loved.
Even though the relationship got bad enough that you needed to divorce, things weren’t always that way. At one time you were in love with each other. Try to honour what you were to each other. Give yourself time to mourn. Take stock of how the relationship enriched you and what it has taught you. What do you know now that you can apply to your next relationship (yes, there will likely be a next relationship.)

Divorce is a transitional time. Know that you will get through this and trust that there’s a bright light on the other side of this — that bright light is your future life.

Divorce Causes: 5 Marriage Mistakes That Lead To Divorce

August 28th, 2013

 

Divorce Causes: 5 Marriage Mistakes That Lead To Divorce

Posted: 03/07/2013 1:18 am EST  |  Updated: 03/07/2013 3:39 pm EST

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By Kim Olver for YourTango.com

With around 50 percent of marriages in the U.S. ending in divorce, it’s important to take a look at the marriage mistakes that can lead to divorce. While researching this subject for my book, Secrets of Happy Couples, I asked happy couples what their “non-negotiables” in marriage are. One hundred couples responded about the dealbreakers in their marriages. Here is what I learned:

1. Cheating: Many respondents said that if their partner cheated on them, they would end the relationship. Although not every couple felt this way. Some respondents indicated a willingness to work through infidelity; however, many thought they could not. Even those who believe they can stay with their partner have difficulty restoring trust. The person who did the cheating may be repentant but the person who was cheated on often feels so betrayed that they can’t get past it. They continue to punish their partner for the deep hurt they feel and the relationship often crumbles.

2. Dishonesty: I was interested to learn that people in relationships can have different definitions of dishonesty. Some believe that dishonesty involves only those incidents when they deliberately say things they know to be untrue, so neglecting to tell the truth is not seen as dishonesty. For others, anything that can be misleading from the truth, whether verbal or simply not expressed, is viewed as a lie. Many people in happy relationships said if their spouse lied to them, they may not be able to continue the relationship. For many, the marriage should be built on absolute trust. When that trust is abused or broken, some cannot maintain that relationship.

3. Addictions: For many, an addiction is something that cannot be forgiven, particularly if in the beginning of the relationship the addiction was not known or did not exist. Some addiction deal breakers were drug and alcohol problems, gambling or pornography. In addition to the first two concerns, addictions create trust issues. Many people felt they would not be able to count on their significant other to be consistent in his/her behavior and to put the relationship before anything else. Eventually, this would wear strongly on the foundation of one’s marriage.

4. Abuse: Many people stated that if their spouse hit them, or physically or sexually abused their children, the relationship would be over. While there are many people who opt to stay in physically abusive relationships and some spouses who look the other way if their children are abused by their spouse, many people would not allow themselves or their children to be abused in that way especially by someone who promised to love them. This, again, can be boiled down to a trust issue.

5. Major changes in priorities: Major changes in priorities can cause an end in a marriage. People grow and change; sometimes they grow together in the same direction and other times they grow apart. There are other people who never change and are the same person fifty years into the marriage. What can be problematic and end relationships is when one or both partners change their priorities in ways that are unacceptable to their spouse. Some people mentioned a major change in religious beliefs and practices could strain the relationship, some people talked about putting jobs or children before the marriage and yet others complained of drastic changes in friendships or relationships with in-laws. Again, I think it comes down to trust and consistency.

When people enter into a marriage, they have the expectation that their loved one is the person they know best, someone who will always have their back. When things happen to shake that belief, it rocks the foundation of the relationship. Being able to trust, count on and predict one’s spouse is paramount to a healthy, happy relationship.

To stay in touch with Kim, go to The Relationship Center and sign up for her free monthly newsletter.

Age Differences In Marriage

August 27th, 2013

 

Age Differences In Marriage

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Age Differences in Marriage calls for some adjustments but can be successful if the couple really love each other and are willing to compromise. Differences that include a younger woman marrying an older man are not scrutinized by society too much unless there is a fifteen to twenty year gap. However, when an older woman marries a younger man society is less accepting and more judgmental. One of the issues with an older woman is the odds of having healthy children lessen with age. If the younger man understands problems associated with age differences in marriage and accepts them then there is a better chance the relationship will work. Some sources say that men often marry younger women because the survival rate of having healthy children increases. “Lo, children are a heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is His reward” (Psalm 127:3).

Socially things can get a little awkward when there are age differences in marriage. Hanging out with friends can be awkward if there is a big gap in interests. An older partner may not relish the idea of partying all night or taking a vacation involving extreme sports. In addition, an older partner may already have children from a previous marriage and does not want to have any more children whereas the younger partner does. Best to talk this over before tying the knot so each person knows where the other one stands. In order for the union to be successful the couple should have similar likes and dislikes. Both should be willing to compromise if necessary. Couples who are devoted to each other will not have as much difficulty with age-related differences compared to those who are not.

Information about age differences in marriage can be found online. Research information is not very helpful in determining if the gap in age increases a couples chances of their marriage ending in divorce. Some sources believe that it does not increase a couples chances toward divorce. The main dilemmas that have been found to lead to a breakup include differences in moral values, how to handle the finances, sexual fulfillment, and not having much in common with other interests. Couples with no age gaps are still plagued by divorce. Before tying the knot a man and woman who are in love need to share with each other what their interests are so there will be no surprises later.

Respecting a partner’s individuality along with his or her interests could help a couple to overcome age differences in marriage. Relationships work out much better if the partners have similar interests. Many times partners may influence each other to develop new interests but if there are extreme gaps in age then similar interests may be less likely. Couples have a lot of areas where problems can occur when it comes to, where to take a vacation, how to handle the money, the way the children are brought up, what church to attend, and so on. Having similar beliefs may make up for age differences in marriage. Couples who attend church regularly and pray together are less likely to have problems in other areas. Putting God first can make a difference in how couples tackle their problems. Reading God’s word regularly can help to give couples insights on how to handle any problems that may arise.

Finances are a main reason why mates have conflicts more so than age differences in marriage. This is especially true if there is not enough money to pay the bills and live comfortably. Also, if one mate is a saver and the other one likes to spend there will be some disagreements. If both like to save then that is a good thing but if both like to spend then there are going to be problems with balancing finances. Debt problems lead to calls from creditors and eventually a bad credit report. When couples like to spend they are more likely to use credit cards. Credit card debt is the worse kind because of all of the added fees and high interest rates. Paying the minimum monthly payments will probably not have much effect on the overall balance owed. Mates that get into this type of trap are going to have more relationship problems that have nothing to do age differences.

Every person has his or her own ideas of how a mate should be. If your mother was a nurturing kind of person who did not work but was always home to take care of the household and the children then this may be something you look for in a mate. If your father was a good manager of the finances and always worked hard to bring in the income then this may be something that you look for in a mate. When one’s mate does not live up to this idea of a role model then there may be disappointments and even disrespect issues. Couples should talk about these types of issues before tying the knot. Trying to understand one another will go a long way in resolving role model issues. Age differences in marriage can affect one’s idea of how a role model should be. When partners are raised with similar values and expectations then there are going to be less conflicts and disagreements. Find out if your mate has the same ideas about married life that you do before going through with the marriage. If there are differences then try to be respectful towards each other even though you do not agree on everything.

What to consider before getting married after 60

August 26th, 2013

What to consider before getting married after 60

By Rita Hutner
Info Guru, Catalogs.com
happy senior couple

Love is wonderful at any age, but is marriage the right choice?

Many divorced and widowed boomers are finding love the second time around. The question many have is, “Should marriage necessarily follow?” The decision is an emotional one, but it also has serious financial implications. Below are some financial considerations that experts suggest you take into account before saying “I do” again. Money management

To some, the most obvious benefits of marriage are pooled income and shared expenses; but that’s not an automatic slam-dunk, according to one certified financial planner with as with any marriage, young or old, finances can be a constant source of stress and aggravation. Similar spending and saving habits can ease a lot of that burden, but you may not be lucky enough to fall in love with someone who is in sync with your financial habits and plans.

If you can communicate well enough to negotiate a joint plan for saving, debt management, retirement, and other financial considerations then give it a shot. Otherwise, it might be smart to keep your finances separate, even if you get married. This may require a legal pre-nuptial agreement.

Employer benefits

In most cases, unmarried live-in partners are not eligible for the other partner’s employer benefits, such as health care. Depending on what plans are available to each of you, marriage could potentially save you money and give you better care.

Health insurance

A good employer health insurance plan is hard to come by. If one of you doesn’t have health insurance or if one partner’s plan is superior to the other’s plan – or even less expensive – then tying the knot could be a smart move. Getting married over 60 can have benefits!

Also consider your retirement expenses. Health insurance is one of the costliest line items for retirement budgets. If one of your employer plans pays for a spouse’s health insurance in retirement, that is a potential savings of thousands of dollars a year. The same might be true for dental insurance, employer-sponsored life insurance, disability, and long-term care policies.

Stanton What is the Best Age to Marry?

August 24th, 2013

 

 

Stanton

What is the Best Age to Marry?

Glenn T. Stanton

What is the best age to get married?

Both parents and young adults ask this question quite often, each wanting to make sure that new marriages are established upon the strongest foundation of life experience, maturity, as well as educational and financial security.

There is not a great wealth of research on this question, but there is some good data that can be helpful to young men and women and their parents. And good scholars disagree on the topic to small degrees, but there is a general window where most agree.

Two of the best sources are 1 (UT, Austin) and2

Professor Glenn in his recent published study, drawing from five different American data sets, explains,

“The greatest…likelihood of being in an intact marriage of the highest quality is among those who married at age 22-25.” 3

He explains that marriages formed at ages later than this fared very well in survival, but “rather poorly” in quality.

However and importantly, Glenn explains that it would be “premature to conclude that the optimal time for first marriage for most persons is ages 22-25″ because other critical factors impact risk of divorce and marital happiness as well.

Age at marriage doesn’t stand alone as a benefit or harm. The most significant additional factors are:

  • premarital cohabitation
  • socio-economics
  • having parents who are divorced
  • educational attainment
  • general maturity and personal commitment to the idea of marital longevity
  • having healthy marriage attitudes and behaviors modeled by both sets of parents
  • involvement in a healthy church/faith setting that takes marriage seriously
  • completed meaningful premarital counseling

Given this qualification, Professor Glenn concludes his article by stating, “The findings of this study do indicate that for most persons, little or nothing in the way of marital success is likely to be gained by deliberately delaying marriage beyond the mid-twenties.” 4

Paul Amato explains that marrying at a “young age is one of the best predictors of divorce.” 5

Of course, we must ask what he means by “young.” Amato is referring to those marrying in their teens. He explains,

“Once people enter their early to mid-twenties, the risk of divorce is attenuated [reduced]. Indeed, people who postpone marriage until their thirties face a dwindling supply of potential partners – a situation that may increase the likelihood of forming unions with partners who are not good marriage material. In other words, marrying “too late” may increase the risk of having a troubled relationship.” 6

W. Bradford Wilcox (U of Virginia) concurs with these two findings from his own analysis of the National Survey of Family growth data, explaining, “Couples who marry in their mid-twenties tend to do best, when you combine a consideration of quality and stability.” 7

Wilcox adds though, “But I think couples can marry somewhat earlier than this IF they are embedded in a supportive church community that gives them direction, support and healthy role models.”

Dr. Mark Regnerus (UT, Austin), who wrote the popular cover story for Christianity Today (August 2009), “The Case for Early Marriage,” jokingly encourages that marrying after “you’re 80 is probably the best way to guarantee that you’ll stay married the rest of your life!” 8

Regnerus says he would push the number a bit lower than other sociologists “to 22′ish, because the data suggests it’s not a major risk of divorce over the next 10 years.” However, he admits that not divorcing is not the same as having both quality and stability.

And “earlier” marriage in the 22-age window increases the likelihood of couples marrying as virgins, which is an important factor in marital stability and happiness. 9

Conclusion: The 22 to 25 age-at-first-marriage range seems to be that which enhances both the quality and stability of marriage.

Waiting longer than 25 years-of-age does not appear to boost either of these marital measures, nor does it doom them, but could serve to work against them for various reasons.

Note: Median age of first marriage today – 26 for women and 28 for men – is the highest it’s ever been since the Census has collected such numbers.10

 

Shortly after his 60th birthday

August 23rd, 2013

Shortly after his 60th birthday

Shortly after his 60th birthday, my husband — who is 15 years my senior — took a buyout from his employer of 32 years to follow a life-long dream: He became a thoroughbred racehorse owner — briefly.

He had dabbled in the ponies while still employed and when the opportunity presented itself to leave his day job with some coins in his pocket, he jumped at it and, with my blessing, headed straight to the racetrack to invest in a horse-racing stable. He became a fractional owner of several dozen horses and in the early weeks of his new career devoted his days to studying the Racing Form and researching horse-breeding charts.

But, as he quickly learned, the thing about being a racehorse owner is that it’s really a passive investment. While you can certainly hang around the track and watch the morning workouts whenever you like, you hire a trainer and he pretty much runs the show — including spending your money. Aside from the occasional feed-a-horse-a-carrot visit with the grandkids, about the only time a racehorse owner actually needs to show up is on race day, and even then, the horses do just fine without you in attendance. Before long, my husband was hanging around the house all day with not much to do.

Without thinking about it, we had become a mixed-retirement couple. You’ve heard of mixed-race, maybe even mixed-weight couples, right? So let me familiarize you with the concept of a mixed-retirement couple. It’s when one person still gets up every morning to a loud alarm clock and the other gets to just roll over in bed. It’s when one person still has a miserable commute and the other does not. It’s when one person continues to go to work outside the home and the other remains home all day and should assume all the cleaning, cooking, laundry, grocery shopping and errands. OK, I made up that last part. And it sure didn’t happen that way in our mixed-retirement coupledom.

Mixed-retirement marriages are situations ripe for resentment and stress. It’s a real test of the strength of the union and a point at which, I suspect, many marriages fall apart as partners assume new roles involving money and bringing home the bacon.

In our case, my husband’s early retirement certainly took its toll. Within a few months of leaving his editing job, he figured out that his presence at the racetrack was not necessary or even necessarily welcome on a daily basis. He felt a little bereft and couldn’t figure out how to spend his days while I and all his friends were still at work. He began taking our dogs on longer and longer walks — not a bad thing for any of them — except he missed having someone to talk to. When I would get home from work, he’d regale me with stories about the cute things the dogs did that day, how one of them cornered a squirrel on their walk, how they spotted a coyote down in the field, how many foxtails he pulled off our Retriever’s paws.

I don’t think either of us found it interesting, but he was doing the best he could to fill his days against an emptiness that hadn’t been there before. I noticed it even more when we entertained. He wasn’t interested in what he called the “war stories” that our still-employed journalism friends wanted to tell. And he was bringing less and less conversation to the table.

He wanted to travel more, but we were still restricted by my limited vacation time. He wanted to go to late movies on weekdays that left me feeling too tired the next day at work. He wanted to go to ballgames, to concerts, to new restaurants that were across town — and had no one to go with.

He took a brief stab at volunteering and pretty much learned that some people — aka him — aren’t cut out for it. Hospitals depressed him, he said, and nursing homes were worse. Volunteering at the animal shelter lasted one afternoon; he was either going to bring home half the dogs on death row every visit or go nuts on the next guy who wanted to turn in a perfectly loyal 12-year-old dog and leave with a puppy. He joined our Neighborhood Watch and quickly became the guy signing for everyone’s FedEx packages; after all, he was always home. His day became structured around errands and it didn’t feel good to him.

At one point, we agreed he needed to go back to work, at least part-time. He took a few part-time editing jobs and did some consulting work. But by the end of that first year, it was clear that we were in trouble. We hadn’t adequately prepared for our status as a mixed-retirement couple and were caught completely off-guard by the fact we both found his new life incarnation boring.

Most couples do not retire at the exact same time, noted University of Minnesota sociology professor Phyllis Moen, who has studied mixed-retirement couples. Newly retired men with still-employed wives “experience the most marital conflict, possibly because of the reversal of traditional roles,” Moen said. “Employed wives whose husbands are retired completely report the highest marital conflict . . . many feel their husbands aren’t doing enough around the house.” Talk about nailing it.

Moen also noted that non-retired men reported being more satisfied with their marriages when their wives retire. “Possibly because they now have a full-time homemaker,” Moen said. Retired wives in this situation report being “not satisfied at all.”

Our solution came in a pretty unique and inadvertent way. We adopted two kids from China and, for the past decade, my husband has officially been a stay-at-home dad while I go off to work. He manages the household, coaches the kids, and occasionally whines about how he has no free time in his retirement.

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